Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Heart of Compromise

Today I am contemplating compromises.  I am not one to be known for my abilities to compromise. My strong sense of independence prevents me from what I see as "giving in," but my yoga practice has been teaching me this art gradually and slowly as yoga is like to do.

I decided today that I would enjoy some free time by sitting in the quiet of the backyard, and by quiet I mean with the sound of the cicadas and the chipmunks and the buzz of the bees in my vines, my tea in my hand and my cats wandering the yard shaking the dew from their feet.  Instead what I got were the garbage trucks, an overwhelmingly noisy Tuesday morning ritual in the neighborhood. Once they were gone, I realized the tension I was holding in my body due to the loudness of the motors, the squeals of the brakes, the rattle and then shattering of the trash cans being dumped into the trucks.  
I was reading a lovely article by Lama Surya Das at the time and perhaps this inspired my thoughts, because instead of the frustration that usually accompanies a plan thwarted by external forces (my quiet contemplative morning down the tubes), I found myself thinking of gratitude.  I was grateful, I am grateful, for those working the trucks.  How do they hear that noise all day every day that they work?!  I thought about the alternative to having one overwhelmingly loud morning a week - garbage lying around stinking up the place, or like my dad, loading up the car and hauling the garbage myself to the dump.  No, I am deeply grateful and I can compromise this small amount of noisy time for the luxury of having my trash hauled away.  I am grateful to those who do the hauling.

I also found a sense of compromise in the constant yammering from my neighbors.  My neighbors hold a constant conversation with some aspect of the household at all times.  Even when in separate rooms of the house or one indoors and the other out, they are hollering the conversation with many, many "what?s" and "pardon me?s" mixed in.  If they aren't talking to each other, they are talking to the chickens, the dog, the plants.  Yup, the plants.  Now I don't know about you, but if I was talking to the plants, and I might be found to do so, I would do it quietly.  Maybe a low whisper.  Not so with the neighbors.  Full, normal volume.  Even when saying "night, night" to the chickens.  It's like a Waltons episode in the garage/chicken coop every night without John Boy, but instead Norma Rae, Rachel, and others.  Now, this I would keep quiet, but not my neighbors!

But, I am grateful they are there.  They help me care for the cats when I take off for a few days.  They help with the garden.  We share ideas, dreams, and laughter.  Surely I can handle the loud conversations?  Surely I can smile and even laugh about the talks with plants and animals?  I can be grateful for the smiles and the laughs even!

And so today, I realize that to compromise, is to also be grateful.  Yoga teaches me every day, even when I am not focused specifically on gratitude, to be grateful, to take a deep breath and love the life I live.  Yoga teaches me to compromise, to give in, to enjoy, to love life and all those around me with a deep sense of gratitude.

What has gratitude taught you?

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